What to do in Taipei for 3 days – An Insider’s Guide
Taipei is one of my favorite cities in Asia since my first visit ten years ago. The bustling city is full of so many fun things to do that three days in Taipei will never be enough. After having been living in Taiwan for a few years, my bucket list has not been thoroughly checked off. (In fact, it’s still growing!) Nevertheless, you can experience the best of Taipei with my 3-day Taipei itinerary and get a taste of the lively capital city of Taiwan. I tried my best to include what to do in Taipei for 3 days, insider’s tips, and local restaurants you must try.
That said, this 3-day Taipei itinerary does not suggest any day trips from Taipei. If you try to do too much, you will not only tire yourself out but also feel too rushed to truly enjoy Taipei. May I suggest fully committing your precious three days to Taipei and keeping day trip ideas for the next time?
When you have more than three days or get a chance to come back, you can visit many amazing destinations a short distance away from Taipei. See a few of my favorite Taipei day trip destinations below for future planning:
- Juming Museum: 11-hectare outdoor sculptor park with a mountain view
- Shifen: Release sky lanterns and make your wish come true
- Yingge: Make your own pottery at the pottery capital of Taiwan
- Wulai: Decompress in a serene mountain village famous for hot spring and aboriginal culture.
- Beitou: Immerse yourself in Taiwan’s hot spring culture influenced by Japan in a stone’s throw away from Taipei
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Taipei Itinerary 3 Days
Longshan Temple (1 hour)- CKS Memorial Hall (1 hour)- Taipei Fish Market (2 hours)- National Palace Museum (3 hours)- Shilin Night Market (as you like)
Taipei 101 (2-3 hours) – Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (1 hour) – Eslite Xinyi (2-3 hours) – Songshan Cultural Creative Park (2 hours) – Elephant Mountain (2-3 hours) – Yongkang Street (as you like)
Maokong Gondola (3 hours) – Dadaocheng & Dihua Street (3 hours) – Ximending (as you like)
Best Time to Visit Taipei
When is the best time to visit Taipei? I get this question all the time. My answer is whenever you can. But if you have the luxury of picking any days, it comes down to the climate you are used to and can be comfortable. In my opinion, it’s best to avoid summer when it gets hot and humid with the chance of occasional typhoons. Although Taipei frequently gets wet, my favorite time of the year in Taipei is winter when I can comfortably be active in the mildly chilly weather.
This article may help you determine the best time to visit Taipei. I also shared other useful Taiwan travel tips for your perfect Taiwan trip – including Taipei transportation, budget, and travel resources.
Taiwan Travel Essentials
Wait! Before going into the details of my Taipei itinerary for 3 days, I would like to share Taiwan travel essentials with you. In case you haven’t heard of Klook (iOS, Google Play), it is an excellent travel service app for Asian destinations. I use it all the time. Here are a select few that will make your trip so much easier!
Taipei Fun Pass Unlimited
You may notice the Unlimited Taipei Fun Pass includes tickets to many attractions in my 3-day Taipei itinerary and covers unlimited Taipei public transport, as well as Maokong Gondola. I already did math for you. If you follow this itinerary, this pass will pay for itself. Click here to purchase >>
EasyCard for Taipei MRT
If you want to use any public transport system in Taipei, purchase the transport IC card (airport pickup). You will save money and time. Hassle free!
While you can enjoy free wi-fi at hotels, airports and cafes, I recommend getting a 4G SIM card for your stay. I used both Chunghwa Telecom (中華電信) and Far EasTone (遠傳電信), and both of them work very well in Taiwan. Make sure your phone is unlocked. You can also rent a portable wi-fi device.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass
Explore Taiwan beyond Taipei with Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass. It’s the most efficient way to travel to other major cities. Get your 3-Day THSR Unlimited Pass or one-way ticket and save $$$. (Available only for visitors with a foreign passport.)
Taipei Itinerary Day 1: History & Culture
Longshan Temple (龍山寺)
Longshan Temple, or Lungshan Temple, is the oldest and largest Buddhist & Taoist temple in Taipei. It is also one of the must-visit temples in Taiwan for tourists.
Because Taiwan is never short of temples, I never made an effort to visit this temple until recently. However, I was curious why recommended Taipei itineraries always include this temple. And when I finally went to pay my respects, it made sense. Now I also recommend checking out this temple for first-time visitors to Taiwan. Here is why.
First, Longshan Temple carries the historical and cultural significance. It has been the spiritual center for immigrants to Taiwan since its establishment in 1738. Second, this is an excellent example of Taiwanese temples. It worships both Buddhist and Taoist deities from Guan Yin to Mazu to Taiwanese Love God. Last but not least, this gorgeous temple features elaborated decorations, a waterfall and a pond, making your visit worthwhile.
If you are curious, read this post about its historical background, interesting facts about the deities and culturally appropriate ways to pay the respects >>
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Bannan (Blue) Line, Longshan Temple, Exit 1
Hours: 6 am – 10 pm
CKS Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂）
Located in the beautiful Liberty Square, Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) Memorial Hall is an iconic place to visit in Taipei. Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, who ruled Taiwan as President of the Republic of China.
Chiang is one of the most controversial figures in Taiwan’s history. Nevertheless, even his political opponents cannot deny the beauty of the marble-white memorial hall. In Chinese culture, 8 symbolizes wealth and good luck, which explains the octagonal shape of the building. The colors of the architecture – white, blue and red – match the flag of the Republic of China. The two sets of 89 steps represent Chiang’s age upon his death. The Chiang Kai-shek’s bronze statue inside was intended to resemble the Lincoln statue in Lincoln Memorial.
Besides the CKS Memorial Hall, the Liberty Square also houses two other buildings to note: the National Concert Hall and the National Theater. Both are elaborately adorned traditional Chinese architecture.
The best view of the house? Of course, it is from the Chiang’s seat, overlooking the well-manicured garden leading to the main gate in the center and two symmetrical architecture on both sides.
Before leaving the Liberty Square, take a close look at the gorgeous main gate and snap a few shots. It is one of the most photographed sights in Taipei. The archway is a traditional style of Chinese structure. You can see the continuity of the marble-white architecture and blue-tiled roof with the Memorial Hall. Oh, and don’t forget to see the changing of the guard at the top of the hour.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Songshan (Green) Line or Bannan (Blue) Line, National CKS Memorial Hall, Exit 5
Hours: 9 am – 6 pm
Optional: Taipei Free Walking Tour
Another great way to spend your first morning in Taipei is to join a walking tour. I also did the historic route free walking tour (tip-based) and would recommend it. During the 3-hour walking tour, volunteer tour guides not only take you to six historical places in Taipei but also share historical and cultural knowledge from the local’s perspective. This particular tour includes Longshan Temple and CKS Memorial Hall mentioned above, plus Presidential Palace, 228 Peace Memorial Park, Bopiliao Old Street and Ximending Red House. Read my guide to 6 Historical Sites in Taipei & FREE sign-up link here >>
If you prefer to walk less and save energy, you can opt for a guided tour with pick-up service, or get on a hop-on, hop-off bus.
Lunch: Taipei Fish Market – Addiction Aquatic Development
Now let’s head over to Addiction Aquatic Development (上引水產) for lunch. As it is 15-min walk away from the nearest MRT station, the best transport mode is a taxi or Uber.
Addiction Aquatic Development (AAD) is a gourmet seafood market and restaurant complex. It is a hip, modern fish market, where locals purchase fresh seafood to cook at home or pick up ready-to-eat box meals. Or, have a seafood feast alone or with a group.
As soon as you enter the market, you will see the aquarium tanks with a variety of seafood from fish to crabs to shellfish. Turn right into the supermarket and make your way in. Here, you will find a sushi bar serving raw food and a seafood bar serving steamed cold dishes and sashimi-don. Both are standing only and first-come, first-serve basis. Take the number first as it gets quite crowded! I highly recommend trying their sashimi and sushi selections, as well as steamed crab legs (gulp!). Set menus range from NT$980 to NT$1580 (USD 30-50), which is not bad for the quality seafood. You can also opt for a la carte menu.
If the sushi bar is too crowded, or you are not into raw food, venture into other parts of the ADD complex. The different areas have independent stalls, where you can get seafood congee, steamed abalone, bento box and many other varieties to eat at the outdoor table. Or, check out their hot pot restaurant, Le Peng, on the second floor. If you prefer meat and seafood varieties, the Charcoal Grill is an excellent choice. For fine dining, go to Trésors de la Mer, an upscale restaurant that serves a la carte and a course meal of raw/grilled/steamed/fried seafood and hotpot. As for the desserts, feel free to grab ice creams, a slice of cake or a cup of coffee at the dessert stand.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Zhonghe (Yellow) Line, Xingtian Temple Station, Exit 3
Hours: 6 am – midnight
National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院)
Both Addiction Aquatic Development and our next stop National Palace Museum are quite away from the MRT station. I suggest taking a taxi or Uber. There is usually a line of taxis waiting outside the AAD complex. (Taxi rides are very affordable in Taiwan. And it will save you lots of energy from walking in the heat.)
Your Taipei trip won’t be complete without visiting the National Palace Museum. The National Palace Museum (“Gu Gong”) has a permanent collection of nearly 700,000 Chinese artifacts. These national treasures were moved from Beijing’s Forbidden City when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) retrieved to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War.
I heard that the Taiwanese Government stored these national treasures somewhere in a secretive place deep in the mountain. While the National Palace Museum is enormous and also has regional branches, it is not big enough to exhibit all these cultural relics at once. Inevitably, they adopted a rotation system. Believe it or not, the Taiwanese proudly say you won’t be able to see all of them exhibited through your lifetime.
Because the museum is huge and always crowded, you need to have strategies in place. Book your tickets before you get there. Pick up the audio guide (NT$150 + Photo ID issued by Gov.) or join a free tour by the Museum at 10 am or 3 pm (online reservation here). Instead of going with the flow, look at the exhibit brochure and prioritize which collections you want to see first. Don’t miss the stars of this museum: Jadeite Cabbage (翠玉白菜) and Meat-shaped Stone (肉刑石).
Plan to spend about 3 hours or so at the museum. If you appreciate Chinese culture and history, you might need to extend your stay or come back next time.
>> Book National Palace Museum ticket here or National Palace & Shung Ye Museums Combo ticket here.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: MRT Shilin Station (Exit 1), transfer to Bus R30/紅30, 815, 304, 300, 255, 小19, 小18, or 市民小巴1 (15-30 min) | MRT Dazhi Station (Exit 3), transfer to Bus 棕13/BR13 (10-20 min) | MRT Jianan Road Station (Exit 1), transfer to Bus 棕20/BR20 (10-20 min)
Hours: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (Open until 9 pm on Fri. & Sat.)
Admission: Regular: NT$350 (Included in Taipei Fun Pass)| Students: NT$150 | R.O.C. citizens & alien permanent residents: NT$150 | Seniors 65+: NT$75
Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)
Shilin Night Market is the largest and the most famous night market in Taipei. You can experience everything you’d expect in a typical Taiwanese night market plus more. You will find a variety of street food, desserts and drinks to make your stomach happy, so plan to have your dinner or late-night snacks here. Also, play Taiwanese night market games, get foot massages and buy some souvenirs. Be ready for sensory overload from the bright lights, the sea of people, unfamiliar scents from stinky tofu, and the sheer energy from it all.
I have to admit, Shilin Night Market is not my favorite one. (The more I get localized, the less I visit these tourist night markets.) Regardless, I still think it is an excellent choice as your first Taiwan night market experience. This market was an eye-opener when I first visited about ten years ago! You will be amazed by the night market vibes, too. Shilin also is foreigner-friendly as the vendors are more used to dealing with non-Taiwanese. And you will see some English signs. Plus, it is easy to swing by on the way from the National Palace Museum to the city center.
Hate to miss any famous food stalls? Even if you know which one to go, it could be challenging to locate them, given the scale and crowds of Shilin Night Market. Consider joining this night market food walking tour.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Tamsui (Red)Line, Shilin Station or Jiantan station
Hours: 4 pm – 12 am (Sat. & Sun. opens at 3 pm)
Heading to Kaohsiung?
My Kaohsiung Guide includes itinerary, things to eat & best restarants, how to use public transport, best pineapple cakes & sweet souvenirs, and best milk tea shops & cafes.
Taipei Itinerary Day 2: Modern Taipei
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館)
Since your first day was all about the history and culture of Taipei, today let’s discover modern Taipei. Shall we start your second day bright and early at Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall in Xinyi District?
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall was established in 1972 by President Chiang Kai-shek as a tribute to the Father of the Nation. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was the first president of the Republic of China and the first leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). He is the founding father of modern China and often referred to as the “Father of the Nation (國父)” in Taiwan.
The memorial hall displays historical relics of Dr. Sun’s life and his accomplishments from the Xinhai Revolution. But it is more than just a monument; there is a performance hall, an auditorium and a library with more than 300,000 books. It has become a place for cultural exhibits and events such as the annual Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards (a.k.a. Taiwanese Oscar).
Interestingly, Dr. Sun’s bronze statue in the main hall is similar to that of Chiang Kai-shek. Also, just like the CKS Memorial Hall, there is a changing of the guards every hour. That said, if you already saw the ceremony at the CKS Memorial Hall, don’t sweat to watch it again. But if you missed it, here is your opportunity.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Bannan (Blue) Line, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station, Exit 4
Opening Hours: 9 am – 6 pm
Taipei 101 Observatory
Taipei 101 is formerly the world’s tallest building and still the tallest tower in Taiwan. Within walking distance from Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, this tall tower is hard to miss and shouldn’t be missed. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Taipei 101 is an iconic architecture you have to see at least once in life.
I’m not just saying it out of obligation. I refused to visit Taipei 101 Observatory. I’m a person who enjoys the architecture from the outside rather than from the inside. Plus, I thought it was a touristy thing to do. When my family visited me in Taiwan and insisted on going up the tower, I finally did it. But in the end, I’m glad I did because it was fun. So if you are on the fence, just do it!
1st-4th Floor (Shopping Area): Enjoy the best luxury shopping experience in Taiwan. And the restrooms are super clean.
5th Floor (Ticketing & Entrance): Hop on the world’s fastest elevator to the observatory. You might need to swallow your saliva to open your ears!
Insider’s Tip: There is ALWAYS a long line at the ticket office. Do yourself a favor and book your DISCOUNT tickets here.
87th Floor (Wind Damper): Did you know Taipei 101 has the world’s largest and heaviest wind damper? This 660-ton wind damper keeps preventing the tower from swaying during strong winds. You can see it by coming down to the 87th floor from the observatory deck.
89th Floor (Taipei 101 Observatory Deck): Enjoy the unobstructed view of Taipei. You will see a concrete jungle surrounded by mountains.
Alternatively, you can check out the Taipei city view from Starbucks at level 35. (Minimum spend per person: NT$200 = USD6.50) Please note that this Starbucks with the view is reservation only. (Call +886 2 8101 0701) The server will call you upon your appointment time at the lobby and take you in the elevator.
>> Book your DISCOUNT tickets here >>
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Tamsui (Red) Line, Taipei 101/World Trade Center Station, Exit 4
Opening Hours: 9 am – 10 pm (Last entrance at 9:15 pm)
Admission: NT$600 (Included in Taipei Fun Pass)
Lunch Options: Taipei 101 or Eslite Xinyi
Xinyi District has an endless list of dining and cafe options. For this itinerary, I’d like to factor in the convenience and suggest a few options you can consider:
Option 1: Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101
While at Taipei 101, why not also checking out Taiwan’s most celebrated restaurant Din Tai Fung? Located in level B1, Din Tai Fung is best known for its Xiao Long Bao (steamed dumpling). While China created Xiao Long Bao, people say that Taiwan has perfected it. But note that Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101 only takes reservations for large groups and is always crowded. Reserve your spot here that may speed up your waiting time. As it has many branches in Taipei and other cities around the world, you may save it for later.
Location: B1F, Taipei 101
Hours: 11 am – 9:30 pm (Open until 10 pm on Fri. & Sat.)
Reservation: +886 (0)2-8101-7799
Option 2: Shin Yeh Dining at Taipei 101
UPDATE: Shin Yeh Dining has been permanently closed as the aftermath of COVID-19.
Shin Yeh Dining is a classy restaurant on the 85th floor that serves traditional Taiwanese cuisine with a fantastic view of Taipei. The classic Taiwanese Cuisine lunch set menu starts from NT$980 (USD35). For fine dining with a killer view, I will take it!
Location: 85F, Taipei 101
Hours: Lunch 11:30 am – 3 pm | Dinner 5:30 pm – 10 pm
Reservation: +886 (0)2-8101-0185
Option 3: Kiki Restaurant at Eslite Xinyi
Do you like a little kick on your plate? Then Kiki Restaurant is for you! It is my daily challenge to find deliciously spicy food in Taiwan. Kiki is one of my favorite restaurants that satiate my Korean palate.
Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Taipei 101, Kiki is a Sichuan restaurant located inside Eslite Xinyi. The restaurant offers a wide range of Sichuan cuisine, both spicy and mild. My all-time favorites here are: Crispy Deep Fried Egg Tofu (老皮嫩肉), Stir-Fried Minced Pork with Chives in Black Bean Sauce (蒼蠅頭) and Sautéed Diced Chicken Thighs with Chili Peppers (辣子雞丁).
Although listed as option 3, Kiki would be my pick. Not only the restaurant has delicious food, but the location is also a great choice. Eslite is one of the largest retail bookstore chains in Taiwan. But the Eslite Xinyi store is so much more than a bookstore and more of a shopping mall. The mall invites creative studios and encourages vendors to sell more cultural and artistic crafts. After lunch at Kiki, you can shop unique clothing, design products, kitchenware, stationery and souvenirs that you cannot easily find at other locations.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Bannan (Blue) Line, Taipei City Hall Station, Exit 2 or 3
Eslite Opening Hours: 11 am – 10 pm
Kiki Eslite Xinyi Restaurant Hours: 11 am – 3 pm, 5:15 pm – 10 pm (Fri. closes at 11 pm) Sat. 11 am – 11 pm Sun. 11 am – 10 pm
Kiki Eslite Xinyi Restaurant Reservation: +886 (0)2-2722-0388
Songshan Cultural Creative Park (松山文創園區)
Songshan Cultural Creative Park is the largest creative arts space in Taipei’s Xinyi District within walking distance both from the Eslite Xinyi and Taipei 101.
The complex was the first modernized tobacco factory in Taiwan. First, the Japanese established the tobacco factory in 1937. The Taiwan Monopoly Bureau later took it over until it ceased the production in 1998. In 2001, the site became the No.99 cultural heritage site by the Taipei City Government.
In 2011, the Taipei City converted this old factory into a 6.6-hectare urban park while keeping its original architecture – including warehouses, cigarette plant, inspection room and the Baroque-style garden. Now this “Creative Hub of Taipei” serves as innovative art space by local artists and a venue for performances and exhibits. The complex also houses the Taiwan Design Museum.
My favorite thing to do here is to look and shop a variety of Made-in-Taiwan crafts and souvenirs, from handmade accessories to canvas bags to stationery.
Be sure to stop by a cute tea house and taste Taiwanese tea, too.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Bannan (Blue) Line, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall Station, Exit 5
Opening Hours: 9 am – 6 pm
Elephant Mountain (象山)
Do you fancy sunset views? Fantastic! I guarantee our next destination will take your breath away with the stunning view of Taipei – with the iconic Taipei 101 in it. Well, I hope you like hiking, too, because you are about to climb up the mountain. (See? I said it would take your breath away!)
Don’t feel discouraged by its name. Elephant Mountain is rather a steep hill. It takes about 30 min climbing up the staircases before you arrive at the most popular vista point. But not everyone will want to hike all the way. No worries, you will still get gorgeous views along the trail. So be sure to take a quick break and turn around to enjoy the changing city view and sky as you go up.
The best vista point is easy to find because you will see a long line of people waiting to climb on top of the rock to take photos. While you are waiting in line, I suggest you coming up with 2-3 poses and communicating with your photographer of how you want your pictures to be taken. You don’t want to be that selfish jerk to hog the spot for so long. Everyone behind you will be staring at you, anxiously waiting for his/her turn. I don’t know how comfortable you are with that kind of spotlight and pressure, but surely I wasn’t. Upon checking my camera, I was disappointed to have got Taipei 101 as a unicorn horn on my head! Too bad I already came down the rock.
And please, your safety first. I saw this girl trying a yoga pose and almost fell off the rock. There is no stairs or ropes to hold. No safety rails, either. (It wasn’t meant to be climbed.) Make a good judgment of your capability.
Insider’s Tip: Spray mosquito repellent even in winter. Although the mountain looks like a backyard hill, I swear it is a habitat for humongous, vicious mountain mosquitoes.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Tamsui (Red) Line, Xiangshan Station
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Yongkang Street (永康街)
The Sun has set. Now come down from the Elephant Mountain, let’s head to Yongkang Street (>> Read my complete food guide here). If you haven’t heard of this street, make a note of this holy grail of Taiwanese gourmet cuisine. Yongkang is full of Taiwanese eateries, noodles, dumplings, street food, milk tea, shaved ice, desserts and more. Notably, the internationally-renowned Din Tai Fung original store is here as well.
Din Tai Fung Taipei Original Store
On my first trip to Taipei 10 years ago, I went to this Din Tai Fung store to taste world-famous Xiao long bao. I am not a big fan of Xiao long bao because I don’t like to drink the greasy soup inside, which is the whole point of eating steamed dumplings. However, I have to admit, DTF’s broth is much cleaner and less oily than other restaurants. I also like different varieties here like Dan Dan Noodles (擔擔麵) and Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wonton (紅油挱手).
While you can find DTF elsewhere, there is something about going to the original store. The same reason people visit the very first Starbucks coffee shop in Seattle. Some would argue there is nothing special but tourists, but let them haters be haters. Speaking from years of the dining experience at multiple DTF branches, expect to wait in other locations, too.
If you don’t care to dine here, feel free to explore other restaurants. No shortage of options in Yongkang! Alternatively, you can join the Yongkang Food Walking Tour.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Tamsui (Red) Line or Zhonghe (Yellow) Line, Dongmen Station, Exit 5
Opening Hours: 10 am – 9 pm (Sat. & Sun. opens at 9 am)
Smoothie House or Ice Monster
I cannot forget the very first time I had mango shaved ice right here at Smoothie House. I mean, who can say no to the big chunks of fresh, juicy mango on the mountain of shaved ice with a drizzle of condensed milk? This place might no longer be the famous Ice Monster. (They moved to another location.) But it is still delicious! You won’t be disappointed at either store. Since you will be on Yong Kang Street, why not?
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Tamsui (Red) Line or Zhonghe (Yellow) Line, Dongmen Station, Exit 3
Opening Hours: 11 am – 9 pm
You may be excited to know that Yongkang Street is not only about food. It’s a great place to stroll and shop in the evening. After your satisfying dinner and desserts, check out small independent shops in the neighborhood. You might find unique gifts and creative design products.
Chia Te Pineapple Cake
Don’t leave Taiwan without trying the famous pineapple cake! The Chia Te bakery (my favorite) is out of the way from your itinerary.
Buy now for the airport pickup!
Taipei Itinerary Day 3: Old Taipei & New Taipei
Maokong Gondola: Sip on Taiwanese Tea
You’ve been enjoying the bustling city for your first two days in Taipei. You might feel a bit tired of all the walking and the crowds. Need time to refresh? Good news. From the Taipei 101 observatory, you saw how nature surrounds the capital city of Taiwan. So how about we start Day 3 morning in the lush greenery?
We are heading to Maokong in the southeast corner of Taipei. Take a gondola up the mountain and enjoy the scenic tea plantation below your feet. You won’t believe such a place exists so close to a metropolis like Taipei!
Once at the top, enjoy the fresh morning air and scenic greenery. While taking a stroll, find a teahouse you like and have brunch over Taiwanese tea.
We walked up to the hill to a tea house and sat at the balcony overlooking the tea farm. I cannot say it was top-quality tea. But that’s beside the point when this stunning view is in front of you!
Yao Yue Teahouse (Google Map) is another tea house I liked a lot that has outdoor tables surrounded by the forest. (Be aware of vicious mosquitoes!) I saw many people having a hot pot. You may think hot pot does not belong to a tea house, but this is so Taiwanese thing to do! This cute little secret garden was tucked deep in the mountain. So peel your eyes open.
Insider’s Tip: You can use EasyCard (NT$20 discount) or Taipei Fun Pass (included) to ride the gondola. But if you need a ticket, purchase Maokong Gondola round-trip ticket and receive a double-decker sightseeing bus ticket as a bonus (limited time offer). The ticket line can be long, especially on the weekends or holidays. I recommend taking a glass-bottom gondola up and take a bus or taxi down.
Alternatively, take a field trip to a tea farm with this tour. You will enjoy the Maokong Gondola, followed by lunch and a traditional tea ceremony with a tea master in Bagua Tea Plantation. Includes a pick-up/drop-off service from your hotel.
Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Tamsui (Red) Line, Taipei Zoo Station, Exit 2
Gondola Operation Hours: Tues. – Fri.: 9 am – 9 pm | Sat. & national holidays: 8:30 am – 10 pm | Sun. & the last day of consecutive national holidays: 8:30 am – 8 pm | Closed on Mondays, except the first Monday of each month.
Gondola Fares (one-way): NT$70 (1 stop to Taipei Zoo South Station), NT$100 (2 stops to Zhinan Temple Station) and NT$120 (3 stops to Maokong Station)
Dadaocheng & Dihua Street
Once you are refreshed and recharged, it’s time to go back to the city. Let’s go see Old Taipei when Taiwan was in the transitional period between the two ruling parties – the Qing Dynasty and Imperial Japan.
Dadaocheng was Taipei’s first urban area flourished in the late 1880s to 1930s. With the city government’s initiative, Taipei Old Town recently has made a comeback as the nostalgic neighborhood where the old Taipei meets the modern innovation. On Dihua Street, the ancient houses from the Qing Dynasty are juxtaposed with red-brick western buildings from the Japanese occupation period. These historic buildings have been restored to house artsy boutiques, trendy coffee shops alongside Chinese herbal market and traditional tea houses. Although the old and the new might sound contrastive and conflicting, that makes this neighborhood fascinating.
What to do in Dadaocheng? Soak in the retro vibes while strolling the street or having a cup of tea at a traditional tea house. Appreciate different architecture styles. Take a look at innovative Taiwanese crafts at creative studios. Shop Chinese herbs or tea.
Before you go, read my post to learn about the history and things to do, see and shop in Dadaocheng (with Google map). Although I enjoyed learning about the neighborhood via a walking tour, I couldn’t swing by any of the stores I wanted to check out and had to go back another time. I shared everything I learned from the tour plus more so that you can have more time to explore on your own.
Location: Dadaocheng is a general area in Datong District. See my post linked above.
↡↡ Looking for hotels in Taipei? Book Your Taipei Hotel here↡↡
I stayed at this affordable luxury hotel near Dadaocheng and loved it very much! The unique concept hotel let me design my room with creative, innovative furniture and decorations – all designed and made in Taiwan. It was like living in my dream house. And I did not want to leave! Read my full review here >>
Ximending (西門町; Shi-men Ting)
Back to the Future! Let’s head to Ximending. Often dubbed as the Harajuku of Taipei, Ximending is modern, young and funky. (By the way, I’m reluctantly comparing two neighborhoods to describe lazily. For the record, I do not like comparing one city to another because each city is unique in its own way.)
Ximending only wakes up in the evening when the neon signs are on. So I suggest visiting this area at night to best experience its livelihood. The neighborhood is where Taipei’s young and hip crowd comes to burn the night away, and the LGBTQ community gathers to hang out. And the tourists flock to join in the fun.
Ximen Red House is a heritage site built in 1908 by the Japanese as the first government-built public entertainment and shopping center in Taiwan. It is a must-visit stop here. Also, in Ximending, you can shop ’til you drop, watch people on the street, or enjoy busking and street performances. Embrace Ximending’s funky culture at the Modern Toilet Restaurant that serves poop-shaped soft serve on a squat toilet bowl. Eat your way to happiness with street food. Hang out at LGBTQ bars behind the Red House.
Lastly, party your last night in Taipei away in a very Taiwanese style – at KTV! Party World Ximending is a huge complex (i.e., the entire building!) and the perfect place to experience KTV. KTV is Taiwanese karaoke in a private room where you can sing, dance, eat and drink. It is the typical last course of the night out after the bars and clubs close because KTVs open until 7 am and sell food and alcohol. Yep, it is the thing to do in Taiwan, so why not?
Ximending Red House Location: Open Google Map
Nearest Taipei MRT Station: Bannan (Blue) Line, Ximen Station, Exit 1
Hours: 11 am – 9:30 pm (Open until 10 pm on Fri. & Sat.) Closed on Mondays.
Where to Go Next in Taiwan
Three days in Taipei is enough time to get you excited about Taiwan, but not enough time to experience everything Taiwan has to offer. If you enjoyed Taipei, you might also be interested in coming back soon to make day trips from Taipei and explore other great cities in Taiwan. If you thought Taipei was much like other metropolitan cities in Asia (I disagree, though), wait until you experience the mountainous terrains and stunning coastal lines of Taiwan.
>> Kaohsiung: Chill at Taiwan’s Port City with the Laidback Vibes and Southern Hospitality
>> East Coast of Taiwan (Part 1): Taitung, the Garden of Taiwan
>> East Coast of Taiwan (Part 2): Hualien, lush mountains and stunning coastline
>> Taroko Gorge National Park: A hiker’s dream destination with a magnificent marble gorge view from a soaring cliff
>> Sun Moon Lake: A Picturesque Alpine Lake near Taichung
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